Arab boy gunned down in town in northern Galilee; 5 wounded by bullets in 24 hours

A 20-year-old was killed in a shooting Friday night in an Arab village in the northern Galilee region, the latest in a relentless wave of killings in Arab communities across Israel.

The victim was identified in the Hebrew press as Zein Awad. He was found shot dead near a place of business in the Arab town of Mazra’a, near Nahariya, and suffered serious injuries, police said. Paramedics called to the scene took Awad to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The police have opened an investigation into the murder.

Earlier on Friday, a 25-year-old man was shot and seriously injured in the coastal Arab town of Jisr az-Zarqa, north of Caesaria. He was taken to hospital. Police said they were investigating. Separately, a 20-year-old resident of the Arab town of Zemer was seriously injured in a shooting near Baqa al-Gharbiya.

On Thursday, several members of Arab communities were injured in a series of shootings in the north and south: a 36-year-old man was slightly injured in a shooting in Jisr az-Zarqa, a 19-year-old was seriously injured in the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom (Shaqib al-Salam) in the Negev and a 16-year-old boy was slightly injured in the same incident.

The violence came days after a 34-year-old mother and her 14-year-old twin daughter were killed in a brutal shooting that shocked the country on Monday night in the central city of Lod. The surviving twin was seriously injured and is placed under special protection amid ongoing threats to her life.

Manar Hajaj and her daughter Khadra. (With kind permission, used in accordance with Section 27a of the Copyright Act)

Reportedly, Manar Hajaj and her daughters were unpacking supplies from their vehicle when she and Khadra were shot at close range. Maryam tried to flee and was shot in the leg.

According to Abraham Initiatives, a group that campaigns against violence in the Arab community, at least 75 Arabs have been killed in violent crimes in Israel so far this year, including 71 citizens of the country. Nine of the victims this year were women and 64 were shot and killed.

Certain details of the investigations into Hajaj’s murder are barred from publication by court order.

No arrests have been announced, but Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said Wednesday that the killer was Israel’s most wanted man, and police “will not rest until we have laid hands on him”. He said the presence of law enforcement in the city would be strengthened.

According to the Abraham Initiative, only nine of the first 68 murders this year were discovered by the police.

On Monday evening, Lod Mayor Yair Revivo denounced Israeli apathy in the face of the wave of killings and said that if the victims had been Jewish, “the country would be paralyzed”.

“There continues to be a crazy wave of violence raging in this country, especially in the Arab community, and I’m sorry to say this, but the country is not waking up,” Revivo told the site. Ynet information on the scene of the murders of Manar and Khadra Hajaj.

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